From many, there will be one. And while there’s still no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Senior distance runner, Seattle (Wash.) Prep
Greatness Present: Being fastest in your state is great. Being fastest in your state when your state is, say, Washington, is special.
Five Washington boys earned All-American status at either Nike Cross Nationals or Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in 2012, and three rank among the nation’s top 16 by DyeStat.com this season.
Hardy maintained his status as the best of that lot with a hotly contested victory on Saturday at the Richland (Wash.) Invitational. The 6-foot-1 senior won the event in 14:47.7, defeating Mt. Spokane junior John Dressel by 1.9 seconds and North Central senior Kai Wilmot (defending Richland champ) by 4.0 seconds. Hardy, Wilmot and Dressel are respectively ranked third, 11th and 16th nationally.
This season, Hardy has also won the Sundodger Invitational and finished just a nose behind the nation’s top-ranked harrier, California’s Blake Haney, at the Stanford Invitational (both in 14:58).
Greatness Past: As a junior last season, Hardy captured the Class 3A individual state championship, won the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional title and placed fourth at the NXN Final.
Greatness Future: Hardy, who plans to cap his high school cross country career at Foot Locker rather than NXN this year, remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year races aren’t over, and the National ROY race is just heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list.Check back for daily updates on the top contenders making their case.